The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 June 2003

No do-over for Jane Roe

Norma McCorvey, the Roe in Roe v. Wade, will not be granted a reconsideration of the Supreme Court's 1973 verdict which legalized abortion; a federal district court has dismissed her request.

"Whether or not the Supreme Court was infallible, its Roe decision was certainly final in this litigation," Judge David Godbey wrote in the ruling.

A reasonable case can be made that the Supreme Court was quite fallible indeed, I think, but "it is simply too late now, thirty years after the fact," said Judge Godbey, "for McCorvey to revisit that judgment."

The Texas Justice Foundation, which represented McCorvey, issued no immediate statement.

Posted at 2:25 PM to Political Science Fiction


whats interesting is a report that basically said that since abortion was decided as a "right" in a court case it left the door open on "public support" the way a vote or amendment would have been more definitive. In europe they had a chance to decide whether they wanted to make abortion legal, voted on it and it was settled.

what do you think the vote would be if there was a nation-wide referendum on abortion?

legal or not?

maybe we should just let the women vote... ::shrugs::

Posted by: bruce at 6:30 PM on 20 June 2003

If it were just a straight up-or-down legal-or-not vote, I have no doubt the result would be convincingly in favor of "legal."

But tweak that dividing line even just a little bit, or have a vote on attendant issues like parental notification, and it could go equally convincingly in the other direction.

Posted by: McGehee at 1:55 PM on 21 June 2003

If Oklahomans were to vote on abortion, I suspect it would be turned down, though not by a wide margin - at least, not by so wide a margin as Bush's win of the state's electoral votes, which was better than 3-2.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:22 PM on 21 June 2003

what I wonder is... how clear a picture are we gettting on abortion? Clearly the people visible on the issue are the activists on either side. What are the hidden numbers?

like was said... it would depend on where the line was drawn. of course the outcome would not be accepted by people on either side.

Posted by: bruce at 9:50 PM on 21 June 2003

what would happen if we did this on a state by state vote? clearly what would happen is that some states would become havens for legal abortions and others not....

Posted by: bruce at 9:53 PM on 21 June 2003

I'd say that's a reasonable assumption. I can't imagine California or New Jersey outlawing all abortions; I can imagine it happening in Oklahoma or Utah.

The question then becomes "Can this be framed as an equal-protection issue?"

Posted by: CGHill at 10:08 PM on 21 June 2003

The question then becomes "Can this be framed as an equal-protection issue?"

I would say, only if the states that ban it also make it a crime to go to a state where it's legal to have one.

Otherwise, I rather suspect that if the Court today were to allow different laws in different states, it would be because it was already satisfied there would be no equal protection issue.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:35 PM on 22 June 2003

It somehow seems forced upon us, logically, that "equal protection" across the states (as opposed to within a particular state) would only apply to federally recognized rights and federal laws. Otherwise, the state legislatures would be stripped of all lawmaking power.

There was a period during which there were two states in which abortion was legal, and forty-eight in which it wasn't. Does anyone have any information about the flow of pregnant women toward the legal-abortion states? I imagine it would be pretty hard to get.

Federalism issues aren't the only important ones, of course. There's also the question of whether a particular abortion ban could be enforced without holing some other, federally recognized right. Which is why a lot of us on the pro-life side would still give grudging, sorrowful acquiescence to legal abortion, up to some point in gestation.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 2:26 PM on 26 June 2003